By Amrit Morsara
Increasingly, businesses are looking at their processes to drive down costs, maximise value and improve employee engagement. Often organizations start strong with process improvement initiatives but have a less than stellar finish. This results in little to no realizable improvements and often deflated employee morale. It is important to invigorate your organization and its employees throughout the process.
In short order, process improvement projects can become cumbersome and highly complex. This inevitably leads to process improvements that have failed, fallen through or been ineffective. To ensure you are able to “finish strong,” you will need to keep your project within a specific scope, get individuals within your organization involved early, assure there is a key driver, create targets and establish an implementation plan. Below are 5 tactics you can utilize to successfully implement process improvements within your business:
1.Focus! Identify key processes that are important in day-to-day business, select the specific scope of the project and limit the number of initiatives that will be undertaken. Your opportunity list will keep growing and you will need to identify what initiatives can be classified as short term or long term opportunities.
You are not going to be able to improve all your processes in one project. Break it down!
2. Get Buy In! At the very start of a process improvement initiative, all stakeholders need to be identified and involved. This will allow key individuals to be accountable and engaged within the process change. By including all the necessary stakeholders it will allow for first-hand experience and insights into what processes require improvements and any potential solutions.
The process is important, but the people that enable it are just as important. Do not forget about the people!
3. Change Agent! At least one individual needs to be dedicated and accountable for the process improvement initiative. It is critical that this individual has the backing of senior executives and managers. It is easy to get caught up in day to day tasks and as a result, process improvement initiatives fall off the priority list. This individual will motivate people, keeping the improvements on track and defend the project when required.
Find an individual that is dedicated to change either within your company or you will need to go find them! They will be your “Chief Improvement Officer!”
4. Targets! After an improvement has been implemented the results needs to be measured on an on-going basis to ensure efficiencies are actualized. This will require you to track performance in the current state. This will form your baseline measure. Once the change is implemented you will be able to do a comparison of where the business was to where it is now. Furthermore, this will form a foundation on which you can set future targets and goals for your organization.
The process does not end with implementation, you need to monitor and evaluate your results to identify future improvement opportunities.
5. Plan! It is important to remember that improvements do not happen overnight. To ensure the success of your process improvement initiative an implementation plan needs to be created that clearly outlines the tasks, dates and responsible individuals. This will serve as a formal document that outlines the various inputs and resources required for change.
All ideas are just that, ideas, until they can be formalized into actionable and assigned tasks.
Process improvements are vital for any business to avoid becoming extinct. All changes should be revisited for a check- up. There should be a follow-up timeline to ensure all changes are continuing to impact the organization in a positive way. This will help facilitate a discussion about what is effective, ineffective and unaccounted for in the process. This provides more opportunities for your business to be successful and organically installs the mentality of continuous improvement.